Thursday, 23 June 2016

Where are we now?

Two years and two months into the reformed regime of enforcement law, how has the landscape changed?  How radically different is enforcement in 2016 to bailiff action in March 2014?

It is a mixed picture.  The major source of complaint before (it is safe to say) was fees.  The new fee scale, by being more remunerative at an early stage and by eliminating much of the scope for disputed interpretation, has by and large eradicated contention.  For all parties, this must be a welcome improvement- and a considerable saving of time and resources.

Equally, by front loading fees and discouraging removals, the new procedure has probably further reduced the already low numbers of disposals of goods, which must again benefit debtors and creditors.

On the downside, many of the old causes of dissension remain: arguments continue over the classification of exempted and third party goods, over the rights of entry, over the valuation of assets and over the treatment of 'vulnerable' debtors.  There are still some problems of interpretation and application linked to fees- most notably the question of VAT.  The majority of the issues just listed concern the proper manner of taking control of goods, and accordingly are still a major reason for complaints and discontent.  As most of these questions are not new, and as most of these arguments simply perpetuate arguments from before the law was reformed, it may be suggested that we still await a fundamental reform in approaches to enforcement law.

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